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A well designed on-boarding intervention for executives can and should serve three purposes. The first is to minimize the possibility of derailment on the job. By accelerating the new executive’s understanding of the role demands and by providing support through constructive feedback, coaching, and follow-up, a well designed program can and should pre-empt failures. The second role is to accelerate the performance results of the new leader. For example, research suggests that a senior level manager requires an average of 6.2 months to reach a ‘break-even point’ – the moment at which the new leader’s contribution to the organization exceeds the costs of bringing them on board and their acquiring a critical base of insight into the job.
Effective on-boarding interventions should shorten this cycle of learning by accelerating the development of a network of critical relationships, clarifying leadership and performance expectations, and facilitating the formulation of more realistic short and medium term performance objectives. A third role for on-boarding interventions concerns organizations that are aggressively pursuing acquisitions or experiencing high growth rates. In both cases, they must grapple with socializing an influx of outside senior managers. An effective on-boarding intervention should facilitate a far smoother integration experience for these incoming executives.